I don’t agree with what H. L. Mencken says, but still what he says is very entertaining. His ideas of relationship between men and women are too exaggerated to be taken seriously, too caricatured to be considered real. Or probably because he’s from a different time–those days before or during the WWII era. He died in 1956.
One thing good about reading his comical assertions, like “mentally practical woman trapping and controlling and mothering romantic man”, is realizing that the world has finally made some progress on women’s rights. What a relief. Nowadays a mentally practical woman can choose not to plague any man in order to feed herself. Even in the very conservative Asian community in New Jersey, that is feasible.
The normal man’s antipathy to his relatives…lies in the plain fact that every man sees in his relatives, and especially in his cousins, a series of grotesque caricatures of himself.
A man makes sacrifices to his wife’s desires, not because he greatly enjoys giving up what he wants himself, but because he would enjoy it even less to see her cutting a sour face across the dinner table.
Around every bachelor of more than thirty-five legends tend to congregate, chiefly about the causes of his celibacy. It is told under the breath that he was insanely in love at the age of twenty-six with a beautiful creature who jilted him for an insurance underwriter and so broke his heart beyond repair. Such tales are nearly always moonshine. The reason why the average bachelor of thirty-five remains a bachelor is really very simple. It is, in brief, that no ordinarily attractive and intelligent woman has ever made a serious and undivided effort to marry him.
(Women’s) shrewd perception of masculine bombast and make-believe, this acute understanding of man as the eternal tragic comedian, is at the bottom of that compassionate irony which passes under the name of the maternal instinct. A woman wishes to mother a man simply because she sees into his helplessness…
The moment she discerns this sentimentality bubbling within him—that is, the moment his oafish smirks and eye-rollings signify that he has achieved the intellectual disaster that is called falling in love—he is hers to do with as she listeth. Save for acts of God, he is forthwith as good as married.
… women constantly fall in love with enemy soldiers who are of pleasant person and wear showy uniforms. And many a fair agnostic, as everyone knows, is on good terms with a handsome priest.
… emotion comes to the aid of perception…(and) fortifies itself by manufacturing illusions. The lover sees with an eye that is both opaque and out of focus, and begins the familiar process of editing and improving his girl. Features and characteristics that, observed in cold blood, might have quickly aroused his most active disgust are now seen through a rose-tinted fog, like drabs in a musical comedy.
by H. L. Mencken